Unpacking the cocktail of campaign bravado, lies and braggadocio

Deputy President William Ruto.

Deputy President William Ruto. 

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Campaigns are in high gear across our nation. If you were pressed to describe those campaigns, you might settle for bravado, braggadocio and lies. Let us unpack each in turn.

Bravado is a noun describing a bold manner, such as a show of boldness intended to impress or intimidate. Braggadocio, on the other hand, is boastful or arrogant behaviour. To lie is to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive.

Kenya Kwanza Alliance leaders claim the Jubilee government’s agenda was derailed by the handshake and Mr Odinga. They are, of course, lying. They want you to blame Raila for the outgoing administration’s failures.

As the President and others have chided his deputy, you cannot have your cake and eat it. The DP is quick to try and get credit for the successes of Jubilee, but blame Raila for any failure, perceived or real.

For instance, he is quick to say he has built roads, that he planned the Big Four and so forth. But he wants to distance himself from the rising cost of living. Yet he as Deputy President should be crafting and implementing solutions. Mr Odinga holds no seat in either in Parliament or in the executive arm of government!

This sort of lies was evident in Laikipia last week, where the DP and his crew apologised for failing to deliver on more than 57 projects, including Kahurura, Crocodile Jaws, Pesi, Rumuruti and Amaya dams.

Grand theft of Sh21 billion

The failure to build the dams had nothing to do with the handshake. We all know that the mega dams programme was brought to its knees by the grand theft of Sh21 billion set aside for Arror and Kimwarer dams. The DP was himself implicated in that theft and famously claimed that only seven, not 21 billion was lost!

When the DP and his crew claim they will win in the first round because they have an army, or that they “own” Mt Kenya, they are acting in a boastful and arrogant manner. But they should know that pride comes before a fall. His past popularity appears to have been built on quicksand and is fast disappearing.

One reason is his poor and uninspiring choice of running mate. Secondly, the DP was campaigning alone for a long time. This infuriated his boss, who felt they should have been focusing on delivering on their promises. His game looks pale after other political leaders stepped up to the plate. For, if you are on the track running by yourself, well, you will be in the lead!

Contrast the lies and braggadocio to bravado. The choice of Hon Martha Karua was bold, fresh and inspiring. Putting manufacturing as the centerpiece of economic transformation is bold. Extending social protection and six million new jobs are all bold moves.

A while ago, my childhood friend Governor Josphat Nanok and I were debating on TV. We chair our respective coalition campaign boards. He is supporting small businesses in his county with Sh188 million, he offered proudly. Compare that to the Sh3.3 billion equivalent programme in Laikipia. Such is the stark contrast between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio. Lies and braggadocio or bravado? You pick.

@NdirituMuriithi is the Governor of Laikipia